Explore the world around you!
Cranbrook Institute of Science’s on-site Explore Camps give inquisitive campers the support they need to learn through doing. Campers work together to tackle activities, experiments, and investigations as they explore popular science topics in a unique and safe environment. Join us for one week or many – weekly activities will not repeat!

Virtual options also available for Summer 2021! Looking for a “science snack” at the end of summer? Join us virtually from your kitchen, backyard, or vacation spot.

COVID-19 Update:
At a minimum, Cranbrook’s COVID-related protocols will comply with applicable State of Michigan mandates and align with Oakland Country Health Division and American Camp Association. As we progress through the pandemic and towards the summer season, we may alter, cancel, or replace certain aspects of camp. If we do, this web page will be updated and registrants will be notified by email. Depending on the severity of a change, we may offer registrants a full refund should the adjustment not suit their interest. Otherwise, our regular cancellation policy remains in effect. You may view a summary of the policy in the General Information section below or read the full policy in the Enrollment Agreement during the registration process.

2021 In-Person Explore Camps:
In addition to Explore Camps at Cranbrook Institute of Science, Cranbrook Educational Community also hosts camps at Cranbrook Schools and Cranbrook Art Museum; the camps share a common calendar and registration system. Explore Camps start July 5 which is Week 3 of the shared calendar.

Options available for students entering grades K-4 in Fall 2021. (Children registering for Kindergarten camps must be 5 years old by the first day of camp.) Camp meets from 9:30am – 3:30pm and includes supervised lunch, snack, and time outdoors. Lunches and snacks must be brought from home and must be peanut, tree nut, and nut butter-free.

July 5-9 (Week 3)

Explore connections across ecosystems. Using Cranbrook’s grounds as a laboratory, enjoy daily hikes, scoop up “water bugs” at the pond, and roll logs to collect data on local insect populations!

July 12-16 (Week 4)

Spend your week digging up the past! Enjoy activities, games, and experiments revolving around rocks and minerals. Make connections to paleontology and anthropology as we uncover the stories of the past.

July 19-23 (Week 5)

Fling, launch, sail, and bounce through the week to explore forces and motion. Make different catapults and compare cause and effect. Use air to power rockets and compete in outdoor launches!

Science Sampler
July 26-30 (Week 6)
August 2-6 (Week 7)

Science Sampler takes the greatest hits from previous summers (fossils, slime, mazes, forts) and combines them with new, soon-to-be-favorites under one awesome interdisciplinary umbrella. We’re offering two weeks of this fan favorite. Register soon; Science Sampler always fills!

2021 Virtual Explore Camps:
Options available for students entering grades 1-4 in Fall 2021. Camp meets virtually from 9:00 – 11:00am (Grades 1-2) or 12:30 – 2:30pm (Grades 3-4) and includes a Science Kit filled with the week’s provisions. Science Kits will be available for curbside pickup in advance.

The Science of Michigan
August 9-13 (Week 8)

See what puts the “Great” in “The Great State of Michigan!” Build models of mighty bridges, learn to identify native Michigan plants, compare footprints of local mammals, and more!

Science Goes to the Movies
August 16-20 (Week 9)

Get your popcorn! (And ask, “Why does popcorn pop?”) Demystify movie “magic” and debate your favorite big-screen dinosaurs from your home studio.

Explore Camps: $385 per week
Virtual Explore Camps: $295 per week


  • Early Enrollment Discount: Save $50 if you register for all five weeks of Explore Camps. Discount applied automatically!
  • Virtual Early Enrollment Discount: Save $20 if you register for both weeks of Virtual Explore Camps. Discount applied automatically!
  • Cranbrook Institute of Science members are eligible for an additional discount!
    • Save $35 on Explore Camps
    • Save $30 on Virtual Explore Camps
    • Not a member? Join today


  • Cancellation Fee: $50 per week prior to 21 days of session start date. No refund within 21 days.
  • Rush Enrollment Fee: $35 per session within 21 days of session start date. If registering within 21 days of session start date, payment plans are not available; payment is due in full.
  • Late Payment Fee: 10% of balance 21 days prior to session start date.
  • Science Kit Shipping Fee: $25 for in-state shipping; call for out-of-state inquiries. (Only available for Virtual Explore Camps.)

Additional Options

  • Extended Care is available from 7:30-9:30am ($20/day or $75/week) and 3:30-6pm ($25/day or $95/week).
  • Extra Tee Shirt: $10 for each additional shirt. (Unavailable for Virtual Explore Camps.)

Financial Aid
Need-based financial aid is available. Awards are funded by Cranbrook Institute of Science and other camp families. To donate, visit our donation page. To apply, please contact us

A Note on Weekly Themes
Topics and related activities will be tailored to meet the developmental needs of each grade group. Your camper can expect to focus most on the week’s topic, but could investigate related disciplines, too. The descriptions above are intended to provide an overview; they are neither final nor comprehensive.

Cancellation Policy
Refunds less a $50 processing fee will be made if your cancellation request is received and confirmed in writing or via email 21 days prior to the start of the session. In the event the Institute of Science cancels a camp, you may transfer your registration to another week (if available and of equal or lesser value) or request a full refund.

Questions about Explore Camps? Ask us here!